Hello, anyone out there who has read these books recently?
I'm finishing up the Lord of the Rings with my 9 year old sons, and I'm thinking about tackling these next. They loom large in my memory as fantastic books, but I have no recollection of how much sex is in them, if any.
I don't think there's any sex in the first half of the series (Corwin's part), outside of perhaps the bit where Dara seduces Corwin in Guns of Avalon (book 2) after their fencing match. I don't recall how explicit the scene was, though.
I'm not sure if I would recommend the Amber series to a young reader--even as a read aloud. I remember loving it as a teen, and that, I feel, is the age where the banter and Machiavellian inter-family machinations can really be appreciated.
For a nine-year-old, I would go with the classics. I know it's not as exciting for you as the parent, but I remember tackling Jules Verne at around that age, and his books were among my best family reading experiences. Barring those, I'd hit the staple fantasies like Narnia, Lloyd Alexander, Earthsea, Susan Cooper, etc, if only because if they're not read at this age, the likelihood of truly enjoying them starts to decline.
I read and loved the first three books of this series shortly after they were first published, when I was in my mid-twenties. I loved them, and my two sons discovered and loved them in their teens. But I agree with Sol that nine is probably too young for these books.
Among the classics I read aloud to my sons when my younger one was around nine (his brother is four years older, so they had to fit their age range): Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Tom Sawyer, etc.), A Wrinkle in Time, Jane Eyre, and The Prisoner of Zenda (they loved TPOZ, and so did I--it was the only one I hadn't previously read--and it has a sequel, but we couldn't find it at the time).
We all had a wonderful time reading these, and my sons (now in their late 20s/early 30s) remember these times fondly.
Edit: The sequel to The Prisoner of Zenda is Rupert of Hentzau, and both are free Kindle books on Amazon.